Jiang Hengs Essays:
What China showcases, for the moment, is still the surface of Western culture, such as skyscrapers and clothing of famous brands. So the process of Chinese modernization is superficial to some extent. I use the symbol of Barbie to represent such surface.
2008 Jiang Heng
Work of art becomes work of the public right after it was born. Everybody, including myself, can make comment freely. Individual and environment are crucial factors that any creative artists should take into consideration. In this regard, I agree this point of view but reserve my own opinion.
2009 Jiang Heng
There are no distinct boundaries between different types of arts. Each type has its own position. They focus on different aspects but also interact with each other. Maybe installation art can be seen as a supplement to my paintings on easel. In fact, besides the above two, I work on other arts like sculpture and animation. Any artworks seem independent. However, they are born to reflect the closely-linked thoughts and clues to which I pay high attention. Artworks can demonstrate and increase the vigor and creativity continuity of themselves through such artistic forms.
2010 Jiang Heng
The interpretation of consuming culture by Jean Baudrillard, French Ideologist, has enormous impact on me. He not only analyzes peoples host-guest relation and roles in society from the perspective of sociology, but also treats peoples survival in society with the macro view of politics and economics. Peoples positive and negative consumption in daily life, together with their behaviors and spiritual outlook in society, enter into an uncertain state of meditation. People totally lose their subjectivity. Meanwhile, they transfer the process of daily life into part of the entire machinery operation of consumption symbol.
2012 Jiang Heng
Exhibition serves as a show of performance and an activity for exchanges of cultures and arts. For me, I value more the significance of the theme and the appeal for culture of exhibition. An exhibition should start well and end well but not be regarded as the ultimate goal. The value of all exhibitions cannot compare to even one second of the production process of artists. But, of course, no artists can leave performance.
2008 Jiang Heng
Gifts from Ruth Handler is my new serial of paintings. It stems from my own creative and life experience. It is the outcome of my relatively profound thoughts. In academy, I use it to conduct an in-depth dissection of Chinese and Western cultures. To start with, I want to talk about the symbol of Barbie. Barbie is produced by an American woman called Ruth Handler who has created an American commercial culture via Barbie and also endowed Barbie with a cultural legend. Barbie is more than just a doll. She has different roles with different owners and satisfies peoples pursuit of dreams. She stands for perfection. Nevertheless, Barbie mutates in the Chinese market. From my own observation, Barbie has become a symbol of material desire of Chinese people (not only children). She serves as an epitome of Western commerce and culture. But I can only see commerce but no culture of it in Chinese market. The momentum of global modernization, deriving from the West, is inevitable and promising. China has developed in various aspects under the slogan of modernization. Both China and its people have changed dramatically after the penetration of Western culture, but it doesnt touch upon the essence of Western culture and its process of modernization is superficial to some extent. This is why I have chosen the symbol of Barbie. She is not an essential culture but a superficial or even merely a material desire.
Moreover, Barbie, to some degree, inherits my previous creation of pretty women. The landscape in the background of the paintings has nothing to do with Mr. Ma Yuan. I drew some traditional Chinese landscape paintings before. I intend to make traditional Chinese landscape as a metaphor of Chinese status quo. Up until now, China has not possessed enough factors of modern civilization, or Chinese traditional culture is still deep-rooted. In conclusion, this serial of paintings is not to show the conflict between Chinese and Western cultures. It reflects the fact that China absorbs much of the surface of Western culture at present and Chinese tradition still holds sway. This makes Chinese people possess a traditional mind but a Western material desire. I regard such phenomenon as separation. In fact, Chinese culture is inclusive enough to integrate Western culture. Integration, not separation, can be obtained by traditional and contemporary Chinese culture and Western culture.
2008 Jiang Heng